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No plans to raise stricken ship

The cement carrier Cemfjord.
The cement carrier Cemfjord.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch have issued an update into its investigations into the sinking of the cement carrier Cemfjord, the upturned hull of which was discovered in the Pentland Firth on January 3.

The missing eight man crew are believed to still be located inside the Cemfjord, which lies on the seabed some 12 miles east of the Pentland Skerries, and almost 300 feet beneath the surface.

The MAIB say that the fieldwork phase of the investigation is now complete. A detailed examination of the wreck has been completed using multi-beam sonar, video and still camera techniques. Detailed analysis of the records obtained will take some weeks, but it is evident that the vessel’s hull remains intact with no indications of structural failure. The bodies of the crew were not observed during the survey.

The statement added: “The wreck is partially inverted and lying on its superstructure in deep water with very strong tidal conditions that would make any attempt to dive on the site extremely hazardous. However, the ROV surveys did provide good evidence that will allow the MAIB to complete its investigation into the vessel’s loss.”

It went on to say: “There is no need to raise the wreck for the purposes of the MAIB’s investigation; any attempt to do so would be extremely challenging and may not be technically possible given the size and condition of the wreck, the nature of its cargo, deep water and strong tidal currents.”

Earlier this week, the managers of the ship, Brise of Hamburg, confirmed that no attempt will be made to recover the bodies of the eight missing crewmen because of the dangers involved in such an operation. The ship will now become their final resting place.

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